Jeremy Burton, Exectutive Director
Stacey Bloom, President
LETTER from the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & PRESIDENT
We’re proud to present the story of our work in 2018 – the challenges we responded to, the ways we mobilized our community to action on pressing issues, and the new initiatives we launched to reflect both the changing political landscape and the emerging passions and interests of our community. As we look back on our work this year, we cannot help but reflect on the evolution of our role as the voice of the organized Jewish community in the public square that is Greater Boston.
When JCRC was established, nearly 75 years ago, we were driven by a profound and urgent agenda — speaking out and acting in the name of a united community to protect and defend the interests of our brothers and sisters under attack, both locally and globally. Whether it was intervening on behalf of Jewish teens being assaulted in Boston or advocating for refugees fleeing Europe in the wake of the Holocaust, our proud legacy was as a powerful “defense” organization ready to mobilize to defend our People in time of crisis.
While historical realities have changed dramatically since that time, critical elements of our mission have remained constant. We remain proudly committed to defending Jewish interests and values by naming and combating anti-Semitism wherever it occurs; by advocating for Israel’s promising future; and by ensuring adequate resources for the agencies providing vital services to our community. But over the years, profound shifts in our community and the world around us have required us to reinvent ourselves over and over again — to expand our mission, to innovate, and to pursue an expansive and ambitious agenda.
This has never been truer than it is in 2018.
In the coming year, we will embark on a new Strategic Plan. This process will enable us to hone our focus on a bold future, to continue to engage the next generation as stakeholders and leaders and to reaffirm our commitment to a powerful platform for collective action on behalf of our community. We look forward to sharing the Strategic Plan with you when it is completed, and we welcome your participation as we tackle new challenges and pursue new opportunities in the name of Boston’s Jewish community.
Who is JCRC in 2018?
We are the organization that convenes our community to reach a consensus on public issues and advances these priorities in the halls of power. This year, we’ve taken steps to protect democracy by advocating for passage of the Automatic Voter Registration Bill, and upholding justice by advocating for passage of Criminal Justice Reform.
We are the organization that protects the social safety net by lobbying for a humane and compassionate state budget. This year, in a time of limited resources, JCRC has secured government funding for our community and our partners in excess of our organizational budget.
We are the organization that collaborates with our interfaith neighbors to tackle pressing issues of civic concern. This year, as our foreign-born neighbors were targeted for deportation, JCRC took action. We responded by building robust networks of solidarity and support with our partner organization.
We are the organization that engages Bostonians – in the Jewish community and beyond – with Israel. This year, we’ve woven vital connections between young Jews in Boston, and Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers working for a more hopeful and promising future and in support of a two-state solution.
A TRIBUTE TO MIKE SELSMAN, Z’’L
On February 25, 2018, the JCRC family lost a dear friend and colleague when our longtime Chief Operating Officer, Mike Selsman, passed away from breast cancer. He talked openly about his cancer and seized every opportunity to spread the word about male breast cancer; embracing the notion that through his experience he might make a difference in the lives of others. The passion that Mike brought to his advocacy is one that he brought to all aspects of his life. Mike believed in JCRC’s work, engaging as Jews beyond the Jewish community; and he practiced it by serving as a tutor for the past six years through our Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy. We hope that his family finds some comfort in the legacy he left for all who knew him. May his memory be for a blessing.